02/07 2014

Public transport

Have you caught the bus lately? Toowoomba is a growing city with more people arriving from interstate and overseas every year. The face of Toowoomba is becoming more diverse with people from Europe, Asia and Africa all now living in the garden city. One major issue facing Toowoomba is that of public transport.

Public transport enhances the life of a number of people. It is accessible for everybody, regardless of age, disability or race. It is a simple way of going from one place to the next. The use of buses helps students, workers, and others to travel safely and affordably. It allows a number of people including those with a disability, on a low income, or simply those who does not own a car to fully participate in the community. People can go to work, do their shopping, travel to school, visit friends and family and enjoy recreation.

The Toowoomba Regional Council offers discount cards to those who are eligible for it. Examples of this are students, older people because this postcode has the highest number of pensioners of any place in Australia and people with a disability. Travelling by bus helps the environment more than travelling by car. Often cars only have one passenger, so a bus could be saving the emissions of up to fifty cars for each journey. Using public transport keeps one away from maintenance and insurance costs, which may exceed the budget of the car owner. It also saves money as one does not have to worry about ever increasing fuel prices. It is less stressful because one does not have to worry about parking in the city, especially in the CBD of Toowoomba where it is an issue. Referring to the Chronicle of the 2nd of July 2014, parking fees have risen from $3 to $7.50 in the St Clifford St car park.

Public transport in Toowoomba presents many advantages for the population. However, there are still issues that must be discussed. To start with, one can catch a bus once an hour. This means that if someone misses it, it will take them another hour to catch the next one. It is time wasted and consequently disadvantages the personís activities. The second difficulty is the inability to access every area of the city. For example some parts of Glenvale do not have a bus service. This disadvantages those who reside there as they have to organise other transport solutions which may not suit their family. On Sundays in Toowoomba, there is no bus service. Yet we have Sunday trading. The lack of Sunday buses also affects some people that have to catch the bus every day. For example, those who work in the hospitality sector or those who want to go to church or do their shopping. As young people using buses regularly we often experience crowded buses with passengers having to stand. This could cause an accident on the road or make some passengers feel uncomfortable being squashed against other passengers. The long buses routes also make it time consuming getting to destinations.

As part of the Toowoomba community, we ask the Toowoomba Regional Council to consider and take action on this issue.

(Katum Loleke and Jeannette Mukankusi were work experience students with the Social Justice Commission last week)


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